Yangshuo consists of many beautiful rice paddies spread across the countryside but they stand rather small against the magnificent views over the steep terraced hills of Longsheng about 200km north-west of Yangshuo, better known as the Dragon Backbone (or Longji) Rice Terraces of Longsheng County. Particularly around and between the villages of PingAn and Dazhai, the views of large wooden lodges on stilts, endless rice terraces cascading down into the valley below and the spectacular backdrop of a 2000 meter high mountain ridge is always an unforgettable holiday experience and includes some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in Guangxi Province.
The Longji rice terraces of Longsheng County are beautiful in every season. Depending on the time you visit, the paddies will be lush green in summer and turn gold yellow near the end of September. During the winter months they might be covered with a blanket of snow and in spring the waterlogged rice fields sparkle in the sunlight. Best times to visit the rice terraces of Longsheng are the beginning of May when farmers start planting and irrigating the fields with water (although you need to be lucky with the morning mist) and the two weeks before the end of the first week of October (National Holidays) when the paddies turn golden yellow just before harvest time.
The longji rice terraces consist of many little minority villages of which Pingan and Dazhai, both part of Longsheng County, are the easiest accessible.
The minority village of Pingan is over 300 years old and in the wooden lodges 200 families are still living in harmony with nature. Besides the famous Pingan village of Zhuang minorities, there is the other less visited region of Dazhai, which is home to Yao minorities. The Dazhai Rice Terraces are located around 25 miles (40 km) away from Longsheng, where you will be rewarded feats of farm engineering going all the way up a string of 2400 feet (800 m) mountains. The 66-square-km network irrigation project was begun by the ethnic Zhuang in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and finished by the Qing (1644-1911).
The village at the foot of the mountain is Dazhai Village. Further uphill the Yao people’s two-story cabins are nestled against the breathtaking man-made wonder. The layout of the village mimics the terraces fields symmetry, giving an appearance that the houses are stacked on top of one another as an integrated part of the land.
After a one hour climb from the valley of Dazhai, you will arrive in Tiantouzai Village and three nearby viewpoints that offer panoramic views of the whole area of the Longji Rice Terraces. Since 2013 Dazhai features a cable car that takes visitors from the valley of Dazhai all the way up to viewpoint nr 3 named the ‘Golden Buddha Peak’. From there starts the pathway that will lead to the crossing of the paths to viewpoint nr 1 ‘Music from Paradise‘ and viewpoint nr 2’ Thousand Layers of Heaven’. Price of the cable car in Dazhai is 70Y for a single way ticket and 120Y return ticket. We can help you to book these cable car tickets from beforehand which can help you skip the waiting lines.
It is also the starting point from the beautiful hike to Pingan for which local guides can be arranged for 150Y a day. For an English speaking guide expect to pay 250-300Y depending on the size of your group and season. This hike trail is mostly signposted but we recommend you to take a guide from particularly viewpoint 3 to nr 2 in Dazhai where a left turn is not marked and you could be up for a long hike up the hill and down on the way to Longsheng.
To find and book the right accommodation in these small villages can be a challenge, few hotels have an own website and if they have an email address, they may not be consistently monitored. To ease this for you we have been exploring the Dragon Backbone rice terraces many times to find the best blend of a convenient location, great views, clean environment, private and attached bathroom, 24h hot water, soft beds, western toilets, air-conditioning, English menu or English speaking staff. Our findings are listed on our accommodation in Dazhai page.
There are 3 ways to get to the Longsheng rice terraces; by tour bus, public bus or by private transportation. It is a bit of a hassle to get to the villages of Pingan or Dazhai in the rice terraces by public bus from Yangshuo since it requires a stop in Guilin and there is only 1 bus a day during the high season. For all the bus routes, time schedules and pricing see our Directions from Yangshuo to Dazhai or Pingan – Longji rice terraces page.
Longji Rice Terraces map Dazhai Pingan Guzhuang villages
The Longji rice terraces map below offers an overview of the access to and the location of the villages and trails of Pingan and Dazhai. Click on the map for a larger image.
|Getting There: By public or tour bus; mini-van or taxi.|
|Times/Duration: Minimum one full day; preferable one night.|
|Entrance Fee: 100Ypp (kids below 1.2m enter for free)|
|Prices & Booking: For tours or transfers to/from the rice terraces see the relevant tabs on our booking page.|
Book your Rice Terraces Tour
For tours or transfers to/from the rice terraces see the relevant tabs on our booking page.